Loyola Ramblers

Ramblers bested by Bradley in NIT first round

Chandler Hart

The Loyola Ramblers season came to an end this evening, falling to the Bradley Braves by a score of 74-62 in the first round of the NIT. The team fell behind early but was unable to ride a rally in the second half as they lost out to their former Missouri Valley Conference rivals. Here are three observations from the loss:

Almost… almost

The Ramblers got off to a nightmare start falling as far behind as 21 points in the first half. The team was able to manage the bleeding a little bit to keep the lead at 17 but victory seemed bleak heading into the break.

The team answered back almost immediately at the start of the second half, with Braden Norris knocking down a three to get the ball moving. The team improved their field goal shooting to an even 50 percent, but were unable to complete the comeback. 

Bradley offense comes out hot

The Braves opened the game on a tear, jumping to an early lead and never looking back. Despite a late Rambler charge, Bradley seemed to always respond right back, either draining a shot, or finding their way to the free throw line.

The Braves were led by four scorers all in double-figures, with Duke Deen pacing the team with 18 points. Darius Hannah was right behind him with 17 points, while Connor Hickman and Malevy Leons each had 14. 

Norris with a solid senior sendoff

Playing in what ultimately became his final game as a Rambler, Norris took matters into his own hands in the second half. After the guard was held scoreless in the first half, he exploded for 17 points all in the second half to lead the team.

As the team struggled to shoot from beyond the arc, Norris took charge with four treys to lead all scorers. He came up just one three-pointer short of tying the Loyola all-time record for made threes.

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